News

Found in: The Korridor


4.27.2011

Navigating the Complex World of U.S. Certifications


Ever since the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was enacted into law in 2009, the landscape of domestic manufacturing requirements has become increasingly confusing.  A key part of the ARRA is the Buy American construction provisions that contain requirements for manufacturing in the U.S. They also contain requirements for domestic iron and steel.  So why is that so confusing?  Because there is also a Buy American Act (BAA) that was enacted in 1933 and the Buy America Act requirements that govern most Department of Transportation projects.  Each of these Acts has different domestic requirements and different allowances for when non-domestic products can be used.

When you are working on a project that requires domestic product certification, understanding which particular regulation is in play is critical to obtaining accurate certification.  We are often asked for “made in USA” certificates, for example, but discover that the actual regulation covering the project is ARRA or BAA.  The requirements for all of these are different.  Here’s an overview of the highlights of each regulation:

ARRA (AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT OF 2009)
o Also known as  “the stimulus bill”
o Often referred to as the “Buy American Act”
     > Easily confused with the original Buy American Act (see below) which has less restrictive domestic content rules.
o Requires iron and steel in construction products to be made in the U.S.
o Requires U.S. manufactured products except. . .
     > Exceptions allowed for certain countries that have trade agreements with the U.S.
     > Federally-funded projects only
     > Contract value greater than $7.443 million.
     > Exception does not apply to state/local projects over $7.443 million that do not have trade agreements with “recovery-act countries”
o Covered by FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulation) 52.225-21 through 24

BUY AMERICAN ACT (of 1933)
o Federal government construction contracts (public works)
o Products must be manufactured in the U.S.
o Cost of the components mined, produced, or manufactured in the U.S. must exceed 50% of the cost of all components OR the product must be a COTS item (commercially-available off-the-shelf item)
o Allows the use of products from certain countries that have trade agreements with the US if the contract value is $7.443 million or over.
o Covered by FAR 52.225-9 through 52.225-12

BUY AMERICA STATUTE
o First enacted in 1964 and since amended
o Applies to Department of Transportation (DOT) projects
     > Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grants.
     > Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) grants
o Manufacturing must take place in the U.S.
o All components must be of U.S. origin
o Iron and steel manufacturing processes must take place in the U.S.

“MADE IN USA”
o Labeling/marking issue
o Requirements for determining if a product can be so-marked are different from the above requirements.
o The standard is set by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

“COUNTRY OF ORIGIN”
o Frequently requested because of export/import issues.
o We are receiving requests for “country of origin” certification when the request is really for ARRA or Buy American.

The Atkore Industry Affairs team can help you sort through this complex world of domestic requirements.  Keep in mind that we need to review a specific Bill of Materials to make sure that all of the products that will be used on the project will comply with the governing regulation.  Since there are significant legal ramifications for misrepresenting compliance, we are required to provide certifications with specific project names and products in order to assure accuracy.

For assistance with U.S. certifications contact industryaffairs@atkore.com.





-->